Junta releases demonstrators but only so that they can die at home
Yangon (AsiaNews) – “The international community does not want to do anything for the Burmese people; perhaps all that can be done is pray. Please, do not forget us,” said a desperate appeal, made by a group of Burmese, that reached AsiaNews. The members of this group no longer believe in the junta’s promises, nor do they think international action can be effective. “Acts of good will like releasing protesters arrested in September are false,” they said on condition of anonymity out of security concerns.
One of the prisoners released, who is from a northern region of the country, said that out seven cellmates who went home with him, three died soon after as a result of “disease contracted in prison or torture.”
“What is more Aung San Suu Kyi is for all intents and purposes barred from speaking freely with the generals, even if that is what the latter want us believe.”
At a time when the language used should be about availability and understanding, state-owned papers continue to print articles signed by ethnic minorities trying to discredit the Nobel Prize laureate, who has pledged to work on behalf of all groups in Myanmar, including ethnic minorities.
According to the Democratic Voice of Burma, the military are in fact summoning the leaders of various groups and forcing them to sign prepared statements.
Given these circumstances the population is unmoved by the announcement that the United Nations Special Envoy for Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari will visit the country a third time before the end of the year to promote further dialogue between the junta and Ms Suu Kyi.
Many Burmese are understandably sceptical about the international community seen as too ready to sacrifice the cause of democracy so as not to displease Myanmar’s generals and, indirectly, the latter’s allies, namely China, India and Russia.
A recent non-binding resolution was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly's Human Rights Committee accusing the regime of “beatings, killings, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances” of demonstrators during the recent round of monk-led protests.
The motion was carried by a vote of 88 to 24, with 66 abstentions. China, India and Russia as well as the members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) voted against.
The 88 Generation students, a leading anti-regime group, sent a letter to ASEAN.
The regional group, whose summit ends today, is seen by many as the only international body capable of exerting any real pressure on Myanmar’s military junta.
In their November 18 letter to ASEAN leaders, the students call on the association to “take on a stronger role in pressuring the military regime to start a genuine dialogue process towards national reconciliation.”
Furthermore, it insisted that “[i]f the military regime continues to ignore the international community’s efforts and fail to produce tangible outcomes, we would also like you to consider the suspension of the SPDC (Myanmar’s ruling State Peace and Development Council) from ASEAN.”
However, a similar request was made by the United States but was turned down.